Adverse Effects

The most serious disadvantage to the use of ketamine is its propensity to evoke excitatory and hallucinatory phenomena as the patient emerges from anesthesia. Patients in the recovery period may be agitated, scream and cry, hallucinate, or experience vivid dreams. These episodes may be controlled to some extent by maintaining a quiet reassuring atmosphere in which the patient can awaken or if necessary by administering tran-quilizing doses of diazepam.

Other reported side effects include vomiting, salivation, lacrimation, shivering, skin rash, and an interaction with thyroid preparations that may lead to hypertension and tachycardia. Ketamine also may raise intracranial pressure and elevate pulmonary vascular resistance, especially in children with trauma or congenital heart disease. Increases in intraocular pressure also may occur, and vigilance is required if ketamine is used in ocular surgery.

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